The Closing Bell: Louisville home developer crosses river, apartment boom continues, events company expands, new Goodwill opens, and more
Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.
Louisville home developer enters Southern Indiana market as bridge nears completion
Well-known Louisville home builder Joe Pusateri is looking across the bridge for new development.
“With the (East End) bridge, Southern Indiana is going to be closer to us,” said Pusateri, who specializes in developing $300,000-and-up homes, many in Louisville’s East End. Plus, he said, “we believe in River Ridge.”
Numerous people, including Ind. Gov. Mike Pence, have been touting the 6,000-acre, mostly undeveloped River Ridge Commerce Center as a huge driver of growth in Southern Indiana. With just about a year left before the East End Bridge opens, some developers, like Pusateri, are looking to start projects throughout Clark County, Ind.
“We would prefer to get involved early on rather than be late to the party,” Pusateri said, adding that he may be six months early but wants to get his name out in Southern Indiana and build relationships with subcontractors on that side of the river.
Undeveloped property is more readily available in Southern Indiana, he said. “There is farm after farm after farm.”
It also is cheaper now compared to Louisville but could spike when the East End Bridge opens connecting Prospect to Clark County.
Pusateri is looking to develop homes on single plots as well as build subdivisions, he said. Similar to his homes in Louisville, his target home buyer would have an executive or management-level position.
Developer plans two East End apartment complexes
There’s an upscale-apartment boom happening in Louisville right now, with numerous projects underway in the city’s urban core and surrounding neighborhoods, as well as in the far corners of Jefferson County.
And now it looks like the East End could be getting another influx of luxury multifamily units, as a Greenwood, Ind.-based developer plans to construct two upscale apartment complexes in Middletown.
The first is a 210-unit complex comprised of 17 two-story buildings and a clubhouse on Aiken Road near Eastgate Shopping Center and Middletown Industrial Park, according to documents filed with Louisville Metro Planning and Design.
The second also will be located in the East End within a few miles of the Aiken Road project, said Bill Bardenwarper, an attorney with Bardenwerper, Talbott & Roberts PLLC who is representing Indiana developer The Garrett Cos.
The second complex will be similar to the Aiken Road property, but Bardenwarper said he couldn’t provide more details because that project is still in the early stages.
The Aiken Road “resort-style” complex will cost around $25 million, Bardenwarper said. Rents will be market-rate but have not been set yet.
According to the renderings, some apartments will have attached garages, while other residents will have a single-story garage building in which to park. The complex includes a clubhouse with a pool, fitness center and event space.
The exterior of the buildings will be made with stone and vinyl siding, according to its plans. The design is similar to Hurstbourne Estates apartments near La Grange Road, which The Garrett Cos. owner Eric Garrett helped design prior to creating his own company.
During a neighborhood meeting this summer, The Garrett Cos. heard complaints from nearby residents who were concerned about drainage from the property and increased traffic. The surrounding home and condo associations along with the developers have since signed an agreement making changes to the project, including making an effort to pipe stormwater and drainage away to help prevent overflows and clogging.
The complex’s entrance was moved farther down Aiken Road than originally planned to prevent it from hindering traffic entering and exiting surrounding neighborhoods, Bardenwarper said. The complex layout also was flipped to put more of a buffer between The Garrett Cos. apartments and the nearby Eastgate Village Condominiums.
“It just moved it away from the condos a little bit further and caused less of a perceived conflict with their entrance,” Bardenwarper said.
He also noted that the developers revised their original plans for four-story buildings, down to two stories to cut the project’s density.
The agreement with nearby neighborhood associations even includes a limitation on pool hours. The pool, according to the agreement, must close every night at 11 p.m. and not reopen before 6 a.m.
Events company Oak Island Creative adds seven to its leadership team
Although Oak Island Creative keeps a low profile at its headquarters here in town, the company’s work can be seen all over the country — including at the largest Christmas event in the United States held in Williamsburg, Va. The company, which was formed in 1997, soon will have offices in five cities, while its headquarters in Crestwood just received a complete renovation to add new offices, a sound studio, more meeting spaces and warehouse storage, and the creation of a large studio for the production of event props and materials.
The company also just added seven new leadership positions at its Crestwood offices: Todd Agee, chief financial officer; Kaen Blevins, creative designer; Amanda Lake, company coordinator; Jeremiah McCann, logistics manager; Philip Rodriguez, product brands manager; Anthony Tarullo, audio engineer/creative producer; and Monica Teakle, executive assistant.
“We are thrilled Oak Island Creative is the go-to team for transforming the nation’s most beloved theme parks, hotels, cultural institutions and other large venues into special event destinations,” John Hawkins, founder/CEO, said in a press release. “Our team and offices are growing rapidly as a direct result of the expansion of work across the country.”
Oak Island Creative produces many commercial Christmas and Halloween events across the country. Clients include Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis, the St. Louis Botanical Garden, Six Flags Over Georgia, and other major theme parks in Virginia, Texas and Florida. —Sara Havens
Goodwill opens new store in former Austin’s restaurant
Goodwill Industries of Kentucky opened a new 12,418-square-foot store at 4950 U.S. 42, near Lime Kiln Lane, this week after closing another Brownsboro Road location.
The new store is five times the size of the former Brownsboro Road store, which sat about half a mile away, according to a news release. The store has an open layout with different departments similar to a traditional department store and murals and words on the wall telling the history of Goodwill in Louisville.
“We want people to understand when they walk in that they are helping further our mission in their own communities,” Amy Luttrell, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, said in the release. “By shopping with and donating to us, they are helping their own neighbors.”
Luttrell spoke to Insider Louisville earlier this year and said the nonprofit was trying to overhaul its image to let people know that Goodwill is not just a place where they can donate clothes — they can shop there as well.
The new store will employ 18 workers. Total, Goodwill Industries of Kentucky employed 2,881 jobs last year, a number of whom were disabled or otherwise disadvantaged.
The nonprofit has 64 retail stores throughout the state.
Louisville Sports Commission promotes Karl Schmitt to president and CEO
Karl Schmitt, who has served as executive director of the Louisville Sports Commission since 2010 (after being appointed interim executive director in 2009), was promoted this week to president and CEO of the organization. The LSC attracts and hosts sporting events in Louisville to help create a legacy of economic and social vitality through sports.
During Schmitt’s tenure at the organization, annual hotel business due the sports market has dramatically increased, and sports is now one of the top producers of inbound travel to the city, according to the press release.
“The vote of confidence by the leadership of our board of directors is much appreciated,” said Schmitt. “This move is more about the performance of our team at the Sports Commission than it is about the accomplishments of one person. I am honored to lead such a strong group of professionals as we continue on a path of attracting, hosting and owning even more great sporting events.”
Since its inception in 1999, LSC has supported more than 650 events, including the Ironman, Senior Games, the UCI World Cyclocross Championships and many more. These have generated nearly $500 million in economic impact. —Sara Havens
Sweaty Buddha Yoga opens this weekend in the East End
Yep, you read that right. A new Bikram hot yoga studio appropriately named Sweaty Buddha is set to open Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17-18, at a space across from the Springhurst Town Center, at 10500 Westport Road. Owned by sisters Wendii Brooks and Kelly Tisch, Louisville natives, the studio will offer a range of classes within the Bikram tradition.
“Students have a lot of hot studios to choose from in this town right now, which is great,” says Brooks. “Our studio focuses on developing a sustainable practice that reshapes and reenergizes the body. Sweaty Buddha Yoga merges the wisdom of yoga with the latest techniques in alignment and conditioning.”
Brooks and Tisch have been teaching hot yoga — where the room is heated to 105 degrees — for 20 years collectively and are excited to open the state-of-the-art facility.
Clifton Center’s executive director resigns
John Harris, executive director of the Clifton Center, has submitted his resignation to its Board of Directors and will exit at the end of the year. Harris said his decision to resign was not an easy one.
“The Board, staff and many patrons, donors and stakeholders have helped us build a community center that truly lives up to its mission ‘to serve as a gathering place for art, culture, and ideas that enrich our community,'” he said in a press release. “In the end, I felt it was the right time for me to move on to new challenges and to make room for new ideas and new leadership at the Clifton Center.”
Harris was hired in 2010 and helped with the expansion of the Clifton Center’s arts and cultural programming, including the re-establishment of the “Live at the Clifton Center” concert series.
Mark Rountree, the board chairman, said Harris’ dedication and passion will be missed.
“John has a remarkable eye for talent, both on- and off-stage. Over the past five years, he has presented an extraordinary array of performers from around the world, and he has worked tirelessly to build new audiences of all ages,” he said. “John breathed new life into this beautiful old building, and he hired a superb staff who will carry on his work.”
Heaven Hill resurrects Elijah Craig 18-Year
So maybe there’s a Pappy shortage this year, but to soothe your sorrows, you’ll just have to clamor for another hard-to-find bourbon. Heaven Hill Brands is bringing back Elijah Craig 18-Year-Old Single Barrel Bourbon after a three-year hiatus.
The Elijah Craig 18-Year first hit the shelves in 1994 and was one of the early premium releases. Due to the growing bourbon demand, the bottling was discontinued in 2012 because there wasn’t enough 18-year-old barrels that met the master distiller’s quality standards. But now it’s back! And for the suggested retail price of $120, you can fill that Pappy gap with Elijah 18.
Heaven Hill is also re-releasing a limited number of Elijah Craig 23-Year-Old Single Barrel for a suggested price of $199.
“We at Heaven Hill have been offering aged bourbons and single-barrel bottlings as old as 18, 23 or even 27 years, for longer than anyone else,” said Susan Wahl, senior brand manager for whiskeys at Heaven Hill, in a press release. “Our experience in this arena, along with our renowned quality standards and inventory of over 1 million aging barrels, means we can select and bottle extra-aged bourbons that are unlike any others in the world, and provide a unique tasting experience for the true aficionado. This is really showcased in the Elijah Craig 18- and 23-Year-Old Single Barrel bottlings.”